Dental implants are artificial tooth roots placed in your jaw to hold a crown or bridge or denture in place. They are made of titanium which is a completely biocompatible metal and are placed inside the bone and osseointegrate with it.
Since recently if you missed a tooth, the traditional way to replace it is by fabricating a bridge. The bridge was placed on top of the teeth next to the one missing, after the removal of sound tooth structure in order to become abutments. Dental implants are much more tooth saving than traditional bridgework, since they do not rely on neighboring teeth for support.
Implant therapy starts with the surgical placement of implants inside the bone. The implants are left then to osseointegrate. Osseointegration is a process through which implants become one with the natural bone. After a healing period (ususally 2 to 6 months, depending on the case) the implants are ready to accept a final prosthetic crown, bridge or denture in way similar to the natural teeth. In the meantime a temporary crown or bridge is often given to patients for reasons of function or aesthetics. In some cases the implant can get the bridgework immediately after the surgical placement. This is called immediate loading of the implant and not all implants are candidate for such a process.
Watch the video below to learn about dental implants: